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July 11, 2006

Comments

Leonardo Monasterio

THis is just a way to make you go inside the station in order to buy something else.

Laurent GUERBY

The reason France has had credit cards widely used before the USA is ... intellectual property :).

USA made a political decision not to pay for the french industry owned patents involved (these patents expired not long ago IIRC).

Plus the french state did a big push to modernize the french banking system for customers.

Autoroute gas station sector has only recently been open to competition, if you read french, here is what the CEO of a big retailer (Leclerc) has to say on the topic:

http://www.michel-edouard-leclerc.com/blog/m.e.l/archives/2006/03/carburants_quel_differentiel_d.php
http://www.michel-edouard-leclerc.com/blog/m.e.l/archives/2006/01/carburants_les_stations_sur_au.php

Gas is only 10-15% of revenue of an autoroute station according to him.

Also, I suspect that the no automatic pay is encouraged by public authorities to force drivers to take some rest. Free toilets, baby rooms and water is mandated by state for autoroute gas station. (Leclerc states that they distribute two times more free water than gas).

Last weekend was the big yearly road weekend (beginning of summer break), so it's not unexpected to have all systems saturated.

John Thacker

"Gas is only 10-15% of revenue of an autoroute station according to him."

Really? I know that gas tends to be very low margin for gas stations in the US, and they tend to make the vast majority of their profits from the convenience store-type items, but only being 10-15% of *revenue* in France is surprising.

Laurent GUERBY

John, it's not in the whole France, only on "autoroute" gas stations. If you see one you'll understand: they're more like shopping malls than gas stations :).

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